The Major League Record for Home Runs in August Could Fall!

The Major League Record for Home Runs in August Could Fall!

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Rudy York Photo Gallery
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The Major League Record for Home Runs in August Could Fall!

As I’m sure many of you are aware, Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton is having a monster season. In 128 games so far, he’s hitting .294, with 102 runs, 50 home runs, 108 RBIs, .387 on-base percentage, and .666 slugging average. Also impressive is his OPS+ of 174 (100 being the average for his major league contemporaries).

In addition to his monster season, he’s also having a monster August. With three games left, he’s already hit 17 home runs, tying him for the National League record with Sammy Sosa (2001), and Willie Mays (1965). As if that wasn’t impressive enough, his slugging percentage for August is an even 1.000. There have only been four players all-time to slug 1.000 in a single month.

So what’s the connection to Old-Time Baseball? Stanton is in striking distance of the major league record for home runs in August (18), set by the Tigers’ Rudy York in 1937. York’s feat is also the major league record for home runs in any month by a rookie; the most home runs by by a right-handed hitter in any month; and the American League record for most home runs in any month ever.

In the featured photo below, we see Rudy York with Red Sox teammates Ted Williams and Mickey Harris from Game Two of the 1946 World Series.

Rudy York definitely falls into the “Very good, but not quite Hall-of-Fame” category. Last year I spotlighted him in my “Baseball’s Forgotten Stars” series. In the featured photo above, we see Rudy York with Red Sox teammates Ted Williams and Mickey Harris from Game Two of the 1946 World Series. Click on the link to see more of a photo tribute to Rudy York.

Rudy York played 13 years in the major leagues (1934-48) with the Tigers, Red Sox, White Sox, and Athletics. Over his career, the seven-time all-star hit .275, with 277 home runs, 1152 RBIs, 291 doubles, 52 triples, .362 on-base percentage, and .483 slugging average. His career OPS+ (123) places him well above average among his contemporaries. He was a member of three pennant winners (1940, ’45, ’46) and one World Series championship (1945). His .503 slugging percentage as a Tiger ranks fourth in franchise history behind Hall-of-Famers Hank Greenberg, Harry Heilmann, and Ty Cobb; and his 239 home runs as a Tiger ranks seventh in franchise history. Reminding us of the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber, York was the quintessential “good bat-no field” player. His career is summed up nicely in these quotes:

“A slugger with a powerful bat, his managers tried time-after-time to find a position for him where he would do the least damage. He was too awkward at third, too heavy footed for the outfield, extremely wild as a pitcher, and an immobile target as a catcher. From the beginning, though, he was a menacing figure with a bat and amazingly dangerous with the bases loaded: he hit 12 career grand slams, including two in a game.”

“York’s 1937 rookie season is one of the greatest ever. In a last ditch effort to get his powerful bat into the lineup, manager Tigers’ Mickey Cochrane tried the rookie as a catcher. Rudy responded well and went on to startle the baseball world. In August 1937, Rudy belted 18 home runs, surpassing the record of 17 set by Babe Ruth. He also collected 49 RBI breaking the mark set by Lou Gehrig. He finished his rookie season with a .307 batting average, 35 home runs, and 101 RBI in only 375 at bats.

Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts and quotes edited from the Wikipedia page.

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I’m a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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